Spare Me the Sermon On Muslim Women By Mohja Kahf - Washington Post

Spare Me the Sermon On Muslim Women
By Mohja Kahf
Washington Post, October 5, 2008; Page B01

Crimson chiffon, silver lamé or green silk: Which scarf to wear today? My veil collection is 64 scarves and growing. The scarves hang four or five to a row on a rack in my closet, and elation fills me when I open the door to this beautiful array. Last week, I chose a particularly nice scarf to slip on for the Eid al-Fitr festivities marking the end of the month of Ramadan.

It irks me that I even have to say this: Being a Muslim woman is a joyful thing.

My first neighbor in Arkansas borrowed my Quran and returned it, saying, "I'm glad I'm not a Muslim woman." Excuse me, but a woman with Saint Paul in her religious heritage has no place feeling superior to a Muslim woman, as far as woman-affirming principles are concerned. Maybe no worse, if I listen to Christian feminists, but certainly no better.

Blessings abound for me as a Muslim woman: The freshness of ablution is mine, and the daily meditation zone of five prayers that involve graceful, yoga-like movements, performed in prayer attire. Prayer scarves are a chapter in themselves, cool and comforting as bedsheets. They lie folded in the velveteen prayer rug when not in use: two lightweight muslin pieces, the long drapey headcover and the roomy gathered skirt. I fling open the top piece, and it billows like summer laundry, a lace-edged meadow. I slip into the bottom piece to cover my legs for prayer time because I am wearing shorts around the house today.

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Amaryllis said…
I liked the author's writing style, but the message has been heard once too many times. Why do Muslim women living in the West and wearing the hijab feel they need to continuously explain their dress choice to non-Muslim skeptics? Explaining the religion's treatment of women itself is all fine, but what does that have to do with dress codes? Dress codes are but one small part of the religion. Such non-Muslims will just have to accept it as an individual's right to express their freedom of being.

I did not understand what the author meant when she said her cousin chose "4 times" did the cousin marry and divorce 4 times?

Divorce is permitted in Islam as a practical means of making life easier for those who really need it. Reconciliation is favored, and the Quran has listed steps to facilliate that. But if all fails, then divorce is permitted. Divorce is considered the most hated permitted act a Muslim can do. So no Muslim embarks on it unless she or he has no other choice.

I regret to read the flippant manner in which this author treated the process of picking a spouse, marriage and divorce. Just because it was done then, does not make it right. Many Muslims get married, and divorce within weeks on basis of some frivolous complaint. This is not in the spirit of what the Quran (God's literal words) has advocated - never mind what you learned in your history books about so and so.

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